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Where did that go?

Spoiler Alert – the beginning section of this blog post is Covid related so feel free to skip it if needed…

Why did I type this header? The virus has become ‘the elephant in the room’ at times and I can’t pretend it doesn’t exist because we’re all affected in one way or another. As I type this post we’re three days away from the anniversary of the first lockdown in the United Kingdom. How? What? Where did that time go? It’s surreal to realise we’ve all (worldwide) been living this new life/new normal/bad dream for a year. I admit that back in March I’d thought a couple of weeks after the first announcement we’d all be back to business as usual because the virus would have gone away. I only had the flu to compare it too. Well, I got that wrong ☹

Now, thanks to the efforts of so many incredible people across the UK and world, we’re looking forward with cautious optimism thanks to the amazing work developing vaccines. I had my shot several weeks ago and I’m pleased to report no side effects. A phenomenal job by all the volunteers and medics to help roll out this programme. Fingers crossed that things open up soon and we can see our friends and families again. It’s been very hard being apart from them all.

One place lucky enough to escape the effects of the Pandemic is Polwenna Bay. It’s pretty much business as usual for the Polwenna locals; not a lot tends to stop them! It was actually a conscious decision on my part that Polwenna wouldn’t mention the existing global issues. After working with a focus group of my wonderful readers the general consensus was that we all enjoy escaping to Polwenna Bay as it helps leave behind the day-to-day challenges of pandemic life. I loved writing Polwenna Bay #8 Christmas by Candlelight. For me, it was like having a small holiday away from daily life where I turned up in my favourite village and caught up with friends old and new. As with most Christmas plans I had an idea what to expect but how many Christmases do you know that have gone awry? Jules and Danny’s wedding was never going to run smoothly, especially when the Pollards are determined to ‘help’!

Christmas by Candlelight - Polwenna Bay #8 Writing about Christmas by Candlelight in the spring (the clocks go forward next week here in the UK!) is completely out of kilter with the seasons and release date of the ebook edition but like many of you who have pivoted to new routines or had your normal schedule thrown into disarray in the last twelve months, it’s the same with publishing. Now I find I’m doing all I can to work around what challenges come this way rather than planning for a time when they’re gone. Having Christmas without being able to catch up with friends and family was tough but I was very lucky to spend it in Cornwall and virtually with my readers and the Polwenna locals.

This post isn’t completely out of sync for Christmas by Candlelight though as the paperback edition went live earlier this week! That brings the grand total for the series to 8 full novels and 2 novellas. Thank you to all that have sent so many lovely messages about Polwenna Bay. Writing Runaway Summer seems so long ago now but I love every minute I spend in the village and I’m looking forward to returning later on. You can check out the Polwenna covers by scrolling through below.

Return to Rosecraddick

Another unexpected turn of events in the last 12 months was the return to Rosecraddick in my novel The Locket. Another development I didn’t see coming! What started out as a short novella soon became a full blown novel to accompany my best-selling novel The Letter. I’d been thinking about how I could return to the period and characters because so many readers write to me asking for a sequel, but the nature of that story is that the ending is very clear. I wish I could change it just as I wish I could do the same for the lost generation but the novel just doesn’t work that way – like life I guess. It was always going to be a standalone book. Then, as with all stories, the seed of an idea came about through a short story I wrote about the First World War. Low and behold less than six months later The Locket was published. Thank you all for such wonderful support and all your kind reviews and comments. I must confess, I cried my eyes out when I wrote the final scenes and I was also thrilled and surprised when a very familiar character decided to make an appearance…

For those not familiar with The Locket, here’s the cover and blurb.

Lockets, like hearts, keep secrets

During the golden summer before the First World War, Emily Pendennys knows her duty is to rescue the family fortunes by marrying well. Falling in love is little more than a dream and leaving her small Cornish village an impossibility. But as the storm clouds of war gather a chance encounter changes Emily’s future and steals her heart forever.

Over a century later researching family history is a solace for Alison Foy while her beloved soldier son is away on active service. When she stumbles across a forgotten link between her great-grandparents and the famous war poet Kit Rivers, Alison discovers their past is woven through her present in a tapestry of loss, love and long kept secrets. One tug of the thread will be all it takes for a decades-old pattern to unravel…

Coming back to The Letter - I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I’ve partnered with a fantastic publisher in Germany called Aufbau Verlag and the The Letter has been exquisitely translated into E-book, paperback, and audio editions for the German readers. Now under the title ‘Der Liebesbrief’, which translates as ‘The Love Letter’, I’m so pleased more readers will be able to share the story. My publisher kindly sent me a copy of the ‘Der Liebesbrief’ and along with its UK cousin I took both books on a trip to Talland Bay. Talland is the inspiration for Rosecraddick with its ancient church, rectory, bay, secret cove and war memorial perched high on the tip of the headland.

There have certainly been times during the last twelve months when being creative has been harder than other times and keeping my blog here up to date might have been a casualty but thanks to the wonders of technology, messaging and social media I’ve been able to stay in touch with readers, family and friends.

If I’m not posting here, just head over to my Facebook Author Page and you should find me diving in and out. That is, of course, if I’m not trying to round up my newfound feathered friends because I’ve got… CHICKENS!

Please meet the girls - Princess (Layer), Dixie (Chick) and Eggwina! After losing Penny our beautiful rescue cat at the start of lockdown we were missing having an animal around the home and we resisted temptation to try and find a rebound pet - so hello girls!

They arrived as three rather scrawny slightly prehistoric looking chicks in a deep fat fryer box - of all transport crates!

Scroll forward 6 months and now I understand why the Plymouth Rock variety is described as a ‘good dual-purpose bird’! With Princess tipping the scales at just under 4 kilograms I need to work out how many potatoes go with that…

Get chickens they said, it'll be fun they said. Here's a before and after of my garden!

All who know me, know I’m joking and the girls have got me running around making everything from special warm chicken mash to paying a fortune for their organic layer’s pellets. Eggs are still a bit thin on the ground and so far with buying them, their designer coop, labour to fence a run, and their feeds the eggs we’ve had so far (when they stop ploughing up my garden and can be bothered to lay) work out to the equivalent of about £56 each - incredibly good value! Delicious though😊

What next? This is the million dollar question. First off, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy as we return to whatever the ‘new normal’ is. With summer around the corner, and vaccines allowing us to get back to more normal interaction, I’m looking forwards to seeing my family as I’m sure many are. I’m working on a new novel that is starting to take shape. Like the last twelve months though, just when I think I know where its going, something else comes along to keep me on my toes.

Safe and healthy wishes everyone and thank you all for your support of my writing.



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